Joke of the week
Three moustachioed but otherwise unremarkable men walk into a food court, chatting amiably. Each buys his favourite food. They sit down to eat together.
The Korean Christian says grace before eating his dak galbi.
The Indonesian Muslim prays to Allah before eating his beef rendang.
A Malaysian friend told me this joke to make fun of the scores of food-obsessed Singaporeans, including me. You must understand that Malaysians and Singaporeans have a rivalry that rivals:
- Australians vs New Zealanders,
- Lord of the Rings fans vs Harry Potter fans,
- and perhaps even iPhone users vs Samsung users.
But on this occasion, I have no rejoinder. I fall squarely within this Singaporean stereotype.
(I threw the moustaches into the joke as a red herring. Setting the scene and all that. Also a good reason to learn to spell “moustachioed”.)
…and are now officially obsessed,” M.O.T.H. (Man Of The House) remarks drily. Again, no rejoinder from me. It’s 7.30am and I’m busy concentrating.
Wild-haired and still clad in my ducky pyjamas, I’m wielding a camera and tilting the kaya toast to catch the morning sun rays.
My blasé kids don’t even look up from their cereal.
But M.O.T.H. is antsy because the kaya toast (his breakfast) is rapidly cooling with every camera click.
And so to breakfast
Nobody does high sugar, high glycaemic index, low-fibre, super-duper delicous toast like Asian coffee shops do.
The wise foodie Julia Child once said: “Everything in moderation….including moderation.”
And so, on this day when I abandon all semblance of moderation, I will go nuts. That means using bread that is whiter than the driven snow. And using thick, thick layers of spread.
Degree of difficulty:
LOW. All you need is white bread, butter and the right spread.
Will do again?
Yes, but only on special occasions (like Food Photo Days). Grainy bread still rules in this trying-to-be-healthy household.
1. If I’m going to eat white bread, I want The Real Deal.
- That means no tricked-up high-fibre white bread, fancy baguettes or poppy seed-topped artisan loaves.
- The cheaper, softer and whiter, the better.
- The plain white loaf from the Vietnamese hot bread shop will do nicely.
2. Buy it unsliced. Then cut your own ultra-thick slices at home.
3. The hardest thing will be finding a really sensational kaya (coconut spread).
- My stash, made by a coffee shop in Singapore, was air-flown to Sydney from my last overseas trip.
- At Asian shops in Australia, a decent bet is the Glory brand Hainanese Kaya with Honey (aboaut $3).
Toast #1: Kaya Toast
Coffee shops in Singapore put SLICES OF BUTTER on the toast. This I cannot do. So it is not pictured. But I did spread some butter on the toast before adding the kaya.
Below: Kaya, made from coconut milk, eggs, sugar and pandan leaves. I like the lumpy texture of this one.
Below: The model had “Bite Me!” written all over it. So I did.
Toast #2: Peanut Butter Toast
Below: The spread. Don’t use so-called “light” peanut butter – is it better for you if it contains more sugar than regular peanut butter?
Below: Thick bread cut into 9 squares, with no-mess toothpicks for easier scoffing.
While in Singapore, the takings from the kids’ Swear Jar equivalent were spent on a coffee shop supper that had my kids exclaiming: “10 out of 10!!”
It’s a wonder they could sleep after the sugar-high from the peanut butter orgy and their “Milo-peng” (iced Milo). Actually, they couldn’t. They were up all night chatting and giggling with their cousins.
Very thick bread is a must, otherwise the sweetness of the condensed milk will overwhelm.
It’s true! I really did have this for breakfast as a kid. I can’t stomach it these days but, by golly, the dripping sides make one heckuva photo.
These forms of toast are a regular coffee shop breakfast for Malaysians and Singaporeans.
The drink of choice is strong local coffee or teh tarik (“pulled tea“).
Below: Signs from Ya Kun, a traditional coffee shop started in Singapore in 1944, now with branches everywhere, including at Changi Airport.
The cuisines of both countries have much in common. Much as one may consider itself superior to its rival, rivals frequently have extensive similarities. Otherwise, what’s there to compete over?
Some rivalries can be very friendly. After all, I ended up marrying a Malaysian.
Do you want to find out more about Asian breakfasts? Come on the Flemington Grazing Adventure: All-day Brekkie Crawl. Click here to book.
Do you want to get your hands on authentic Malaysian food? Come on the Campsie Adventure: Malaysian Noodle Banquet + Bonus Bakery Hop. Click here to book.
For the schedule of food tours through to June 2013, see Events Coming Up.
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